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Healthy Sleeping Positions

We spend about one third of our lives sleeping. That’s a lot of time in an average life, so it’s a pretty important activity. Not only should you try to get enough of it, you also need to know the best positions in which to do it. Here is a rundown of healthy and unhealthy sleeping positions, and how you can make them second nature.

The Good

Back sleeping is a great position for your spine. It helps to prevent neck and back pain because it creates a neutral position for the head, neck and spine. It’s also been shown to reduce acid reflux by keeping your head elevated above your stomach. Another plus is that it may help keep the wrinkles away, since there’s nothing pushing against your face!

In this position you will benefit from the support of a puffy pillow that keeps your head supported without propping your head up too much. The only drawback to this position is that it’s bad for snoring.

The Sort Of Good

Sleeping on the side is firmly in the ok category. It’s good for reducing snoring, reducing acid reflux and is a must during pregnancy for optimal blood flow, but it’s bad for inducing wrinkles by mashing your face against a pillow all night, and really bad for sagging breasts. In this position, you’ll want a thick pillow to support your head and neck in a neutral position.

The Not Good

The fetal position is ok if you’re a fetus, not ok if you’re not a fetus. It can increase pain from arthritis because your knees are bent during the night. It can also make neck pain worse and puts your spine in a poor posture for the whole night. It also makes taking full breaths with your diaphragm difficult during the night and is another position that can promote wrinkles. The only time you want to do the fetal position is if you actually have a fetus inside you for pregnancy, and even then you’ll want to support your hips with a pillow between your knees. In this position you’ll also want a thick pillow to help support your head and neck in a neutral position.

The Bad

Sleeping on your stomach is the worst position for you. It’s a position that makes it difficult to have a neutral spine during sleep and it puts undue pressure on your joints and muscles, which may lead to pain, numbness and tingling. Plus, the way it forces you to twist your head may lead to head and neck pain. The only benefit to this position is that it keeps your airway open, so if you have issues with snoring but no neck and back pain, you can try this position. Just make sure you either use a very thin pillow or no pillow at all.

How to Break Bad Habits

Practice makes perfect, even when it comes to sleep. Practice lying on your back in bed before you fall asleep and try to fall asleep in that position. Inevitably you may switch positions while sleeping, so if you wake up try to remember to roll over on your back. Pillows can help to keep you supported and help promote better habits too. If you’re a stomach sleeper, try using a body pillow to help you transition to being a side sleeper. Just be aware that how you sleep is important, not just getting sleep. Train yourself to have healthier sleeping habits.

Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Wicked Sushi

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